Wednesday, March 1, 2006
As Minnesota companies become increasingly involved in the global economy, demand is growing for employees trained in areas of international business. A survey released in February by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development sheds new light on the knowledge, skills and abilities sought by companies most involved in international global markets through exporting, importing or foreign direct investment.
DEED collaborated with Metropolitan State University on the survey, which focused on companies with at least one professional employee involved in international business activities. About 82 percent of these respondents were manufacturers and 45 percent were small businesses.
Respondents had a greater willingness to provide training for international business areas as needed by employees, rather than requiring such skills a a condition for employment. The five most frequently mentioned skills considered essential for hire were general in nature – such as writing, teamwork, and computer skills – followed by five international business skills areas: direct sales, exporting and importing, global sales contracting, transportation logistics and strategic planning. Respondents most frequently required or desired their employees to have language skills in Spanish, Chinese or French.
Companies noted they were willing to cover the cost of training their employees in many international business skills, but those eligible were more likely to be current employees. Almost 60 percent fully paid for job-specific training, and more than 40 percent covered the costs of continuing education or professional qualification. Over the next five years, the majority of respondents expect to increase their training budgets or maintain them at the current levels.
“This survey provides much-needed insight into the type of skills Minnesota companies need to compete in the global economy,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Kramer. “Organizations involved in training may find the results useful in developing or fine-tuning curricula for continuing education, job-specific training or professional qualification programs.”